Banggai cardinalfish

Banggai Cardinalfish

Pterapogon kauderni

DID YOU KNOW?

These fish hide among the spines of sea urchins for protection against predators.

Exhibit Name and Location:
Baltimore - Pacific Coral Reef

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Banggai Cardinalfish

This small, disc-shaped fish is easily recognized by its tasseled first dorsal fin; long, tapering second dorsal fin; and deeply forked tail, or caudal fin.

The Banggai cardinalfish’s colors are striking—bright silver flecks and several bold, black, vertical stripes adorn its gray body.

The male cardinalfish incubates the eggs in its mouth, keeping the young protected there even after hatching.

Diet

The Banggai, along with most others in the cardinalfish family, feeds on plankton and small, bottom-dwelling crustaceans.

Size

This species reaches about 3 inches in total length.

Range

This cardinalfish is restricted to the Banggai Islands in Indonesia. It is common around jetties and over sandy bottoms with sea grasses.

Population Status

Banggai cardinalfish were introduced into the pet trade in the 1990s and are popular in home aquariums. Because of their restricted range and shallow habitat, they are in danger of exploitation and over-collection. Some experts fear this could lead to extinction. Breeding this species in captivity is one way to reduce the pressure on wild populations.

Predators

Humans pose the biggest threat to Banggai cardinalfish, as the fish are popular among aquarium hobbyists. These fish also fall prey to several natural predators, especially as juveniles, when they are plucked from the spines of sea urchins by hungry passers-by.

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A Note From the Caretaker

If you can’t spot the Banggais, look closely among the tentacles of the anemones. Hiding comes naturally to these fish. In the wild they often use the spines of sea urchins for protection from predators.